April 26, 2012 — The Richard King Mellon Foundation has awarded a grant of $150,000 to Allegheny College in support of the Pittsburgh operations of Creek Connections, a partnership between Allegheny College’s natural science division and elementary, middle and high schools.
Founded in 1995, the project has grown from five to more than 50 participating teachers at more than 40 schools, most of which are located in western Pennsylvania. In Creek Connections, K-12 students use neighborhood streams as outdoor laboratories for ongoing investigations into water quality. The program extends the reach of the schools’ science curricula and provides authentic research experiences for students as well as assistance and materials that otherwise would not be available to teachers.
Creek Connections has partnered with Pittsburgh-area schools since 1998. A full-time field educator, Laura Branby, provides the majority of on-site and on-line support for school participants, organizes the annual student research symposium, represents Creek Connections in environmental outreach events and serves as liaison to collaborators such as Fern Hollow Nature Center, RiverQuest and the many environmental professionals who assist with symposia and creek camps.
Creek Connections has received numerous regional, state and national awards for its contribution to environmental education and stewardship. The program is directed by Jim Palmer, associate professor of environmental science and biology at Allegheny College, and managed by Wendy Kedzierski.
More information about Creek Connections can be found at http://creekconnections.allegheny.edu/.